Human Playing God

Last Friday, thanks to Tim Ferriss 5-Bullet Friday, this video on how wolves change rivers caught me by surprise and amazement. It’s mind-boggling to see how everything has its place in the garden of nature.

As I dig on the comment section of that video, among quirky comments with hundreds or thousands of likes, I found one with 5 likes top. It looks out of place, pointing me toward an “Outdoor” podcast responding to this video.

Curiosity kicks in, some Google searches bring me precisely to that podcast. It tells a story of when wolves were introduced in the national park, they start to hunt down livestock at ranches nearby.

Along the story, many parties were involved, ranch owners, town sheriff, national park staff, environmentalists, conservationists. They got in a heated debate on whether this endanger specie should be killed when they go for the livestock. There are not many wolves, but the aftermath of their hunting are not to be disregarded

The alpha wolf of the pack has skirted death several times, taking just enough livestock per 6-month to be below the executing-limit number set by the environmentalist, as if it knows exactly what that number is. The alpha one also escaped by a hair when the national park staff has tracked it down with a riffle, ready to pull trigger, just to get a radio call to stand down for further discussion.

Listening to this podcast episode, I can’t help but frown. The constant thought appears in my head: “What gives human the permission to play god on these animal, on nature?” The lives of the wolves in the story essentially come down to a debate between the humans “of authority”.

Is it because we can? Is it because we have the power to? What moral obligation do we have, then?

Is it because we are going after some greater good? How do we even define that greater good? Is that the greater good of the national park eco-system? Is that the greater good of the ranch owner, or the town safety? If it is the latter, doesn’t that means we are only interested in our own species: human?

Are the wolves not more than just tools for us to entertain our mercy, our twisted desire to show our friends how we care about nature?

I cannot decide what’s right, or who’s right here.

Can you?

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